News & Article

Nike expands in the US

22 April 2013

Nike has announced plans to build two new buildings at its headquarters in Oregon, expand parking and make road and other campus improvements to support the company’s growth.

It comes after months of wrangling with authorities over the terms of the deal – with the sportswear brand at one point threatening to move its location to another state.

Last December, the company received tax certainty for the next 30 years.

“Nike is a growth company with a long history in Oregon and we look forward to continuing to grow here,” said Mark Parker, CEO of Nike.

Since 2007, Nike’s employment in Oregon has grown by nearly 60%. More than 8,000 employees and contract workers are based at its headquarters.

Former footwear exec takes top job at Puma

19 April 2013

German sportswear brand Puma has appointed Björn Gulden as its new CEO, effective July 1, 2013.

In December the group embarked on a senior management shake-up described as a "new chapter". CEO Franz Koch stepped down, following in the footsteps of former chairman Jochen Zeitz, who resigned in October.

Mr Gulden has been CEO of Danish jewellery brand Pandora since the beginning of last year. From 2000 to 2011, the Norwegian was managing director of footwear retailer Deichmann, where he also headed the US subsidiaries Rack Room Shoes and Off Broadway Shoes.

Prior to 2000, he held several management positions at outdoor apparel company Helly Hansen and sporting goods firm adidas, where he was senior vice-president of apparel and accessories.

Puma chairman Jean-François Palus said: “I am absolutely convinced that Björn Gulden is the perfect fit to lead Puma through its continuing restructuring and transformation program on its mission to become the most desirable and sustainable sportlifestyle company in the world.”

Mr Gulden said: “Puma enjoys an enormous potential – both in the performance and in the lifestyle markets, and I am eager to help unlock this potential and further grow the company in the years to come.”

Water treatment programme earns A&E success in Nike sustainability awards

02 May 2013

Technical textile and specialist thread manufacturer American & Efird has announced that its dye house in Dongmei, Guangdong Province, China, has received recognition as the leading sewing thread manufacturer on the Nike Materials Sustainability Index (MSI).

This is A&E’s second consecutive award in a competition that Nike runs among its suppliers every quarter. A&E won for the third and fourth quarters of 2012. Third parties must certify all data submitted.

Nike runs the competition because it believes that a focus on materials management all the way along the supply chain is a good way for it to control its overall environmental impact. So, for ten years now, it has been working on its MSI to help its design teams make informed decisions about the potential environmental impact of their material choices. The index now calculates scores for more than 80,000 materials available to Nike product creation teams from 1,400 suppliers around the world.

“Nike MSI is one of the most prestigious sustainability programmes and we are incredibly honoured to receive this award,” said John Eapen, A&E vice-president for environmental, health and sustainability. “While others have backed away from environmental efforts, we have broadened our environmental responsibility, the results of which have reinforced our global commitment to creating a better world through responsible corporate actions, an environmentally protective stance, and numerous contributions to the communities in which we operate.”

A&E received perfect scores for its water programme at the Dongmei plant and for water conservation. Participation involved submitting treated wastewater to an independent, certified environmental laboratory, and then uploading the results to a dedicated Nike MSI water website. The results reflect the investment A&E has made at the Dongmei plant (more than $2 million), in a high-tech physical, chemical and biological treatment system, including ultra filtration and reverse osmosis. This allows the facility to meet all required regulatory limits and to recycle more than 50% of the treated wastewater.

SATRA shows off Everest boot

02 May 2013

Sixty years, almost to the day, after the start of the first successful assault on the summit of Mount Everest, research and testing institute SATRA showed off one of the boots used on the exhibition, which it helped develop.

SATRA worked with local footwear manufacturers in and around Northampton to make boots that would be light enough and comfortable enough for the 16-strong party wear below and above the snow-line and the organisation is justifiably proud of the fact that, for the first time ever on an Everest expedition, none of the mountaineers suffered from frost-bite during the climb.

Known as the 1953 British Expedition, the climbers who were the first in history to reach the summit were Nepalese guide Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary.

During the first days of May 1953, expedition leader, Colonel John Hunt, and two companions completed an important reconnaissance of the Lhotse Face on the mountain on May 2, which allowed them to plan a steady progression of camps, higher and higher up, eventually permitting Sherpa Tenzing and Sir Edmund Hillary to reach the summit on May 29.

It is one of Sir John Hunt’s boots that SATRA keeps at its laboratory in Kettering.

The boot looks bulky by today’s standards but is surprisingly light to lift. SATRA’s head of research, Tom Bayes, told a group of journalists attending a presentation at the laboratory on OutDry water-resistance technology and a new SATRA water-resistance test that the manufacturers of the 1953 boot had used only natural materials, including a leather toe-puff and leather insole board. The climbers attached canvas overshoe material for walking through snow and took it off above the snow-line to allow the boots to breathe better, Mr Bayes explained.

New Balance backs plea to source military’s sports shoes from US

26 April 2013

US sportswear brand New Balance is backing 15 senators who are asking President Obama to apply the Berry Amendment to athletic footwear so that manufacturing jobs can be created in the US.

The agreement states that clothing and equipment used by the US military should be manufactured in the country rather than imported, where possible. If the agreement is extended, it will benefit New Balance as it is the only sportswear group to manufacture footwear in the US.

"We can increase American footwear manufacturing jobs at no cost to the federal government simply by your directing the Department of Defence to align its athletic footwear procurement policies to those it has already adopted for other footwear, such as combat boots, service shoes, and other uniform items," said the senators in a joint statement.

US-made footwear was previously covered under the rules, but during the last 11 years, military personnel receive a cash allowance to purchase the athletic footwear of their choice regardless of where it is manufactured.

The cash allowances for athletic shoes are valued at about $15 million annually, which surpasses the minimum acquisition threshold of $150,000 that triggers compliance under the Berry Amendment. The Defence Logistics Agency has awarded more than $36 million since October 2012 to domestic companies for other footwear such as combat boots and shoes.

Matt LeBretton, director of public affairs for New Balance, said: "Our industry has come together to request that the DOD simply follow their own rules and allow for a competitive environment where companies that are committed to manufacturing in the United States are encouraged to do so. We are hopeful that the administration will correct this inequity and support domestic manufacturers."

Nike launches Flyknit

Nike has launched a revision of its flyknit knitted shoe, targeted at everyday wear and which it describes as “a new chapter in the Nike Flyknit technology story”.

The US sportswear giant’s CEO Mark Parker, designer Tinker Hatfield and style adviser Hiroshi Fujiwara have collaborated again to update the design, which was originally launched last February.

Nike claims the HTM Flyknit Chukka’s woven upper reduces manufacturing waste by two-thirds in terms of weight. It blends the clean, modern style of the chukka boot with Flyknit technology, “creating a new silhouette for the street”. The knitted, form-fitting upper is enhanced by Nike Flywire technology for support, and a Nike Lunarlon [cushioning system] outsole “provides a smooth ride”.

The Chukka will be available from February at selected retailers including Nike Stadium Milan, Nike Stadium Paris and 1948 in London.

Adidas expects "considerable" growth in outdoor sector shoes

German sportswear group adidas will be promoting a new trekking shoe with added grip at this month’s Outdoor Retailer show in the US – its “first visible product collaboration” with Five Ten since it bought the footwear company in 2011.

It plans to boost sales of its outdoor products to €500 million by 2015, up from €300 million in 2011, according to Bloomberg – an increase of 66%.

It is hoping to grow the division from 2.3% of its revenue in 2011 to 2.9% of the €17 billion of group revenue it forecasts by 2015.

Its head of outdoor, Rolf Reinschmidt, said he expects “considerable” growth driven by Korea and Japan, where there are “very technical outdoor markets that love innovative products”, as well as the US, Germany, China and Russia.

Adidas unveils ultra-lightweight golf shoes

Adidas Golf has launched a footwear collection, designed around the sportswear company’s lightweight adiZero range, which it says will reduce fatigue.

Available from the end of January, the adizero Tour is 38% lighter than the previous range, weighing 10.6 ounces, and has a sole measuring only 1.2mm.

It is designed with ultra-light materials and a ‘sprintframe’ outsole that reduces weight while maintaining comfort, according to the company. The thermoplastic polyurethane layer provides upper support during lateral movements, and a new microfibre leather ‘sprintskin’ (single-layer upper) ensures there is no water uptake, and adds durability.

"adidas has set a company-wide mission to be radically light in every athletic category, and we are excited to announce we have delivered on that mission to the sport of golf, " said Bill Price, vice-president of adidas Golf Footwear. "By using only what was absolutely essential in adiZero, we are able to give golfers superior fit, super-lightweight comfort, and natural stability that results in less fatigue and more energy savings at the end of each round."